A thematic analysis of sexist Bollywood songs

Nasrina Siddiqi


Music is a core constituent of human civilization which reflects the socio-cultural configuration of a society at a given point of time. With proven effects of music on mental and physical health, researchers have now started studying it as a therapeutic technique. While listening to songs can cure stress and many other psychological infirmities, inappropriate lyrical content can impact listeners’ attitudes and behaviors negatively. Studies have so far focused on the content structure and implicit elements of lyrics while the probable individual and societal consequences of the same remain less explored and understood. Guided by this objective, the present study is an attempt to explore how sexist lyrics can be instrumental in propagating regressive patriarchal values and sexism. The investigation involves Thematic Analysis of nine Bollywood songs, with explicitly sexist lyrics, chosen through purposive sampling technique. Results reveal that sexist lyrics may be contributory in increasing audience’s tolerance for sexism by creating a power imbalance between the two sexes, normalizing objectification, misogyny and stalking and fostering gender stereotypes. Implications of the study are duly discussed.  


Beauty-status exchange theory, Bollywood songs, Sexist lyrics, Sexual economics, Sociology of music, Thematic analysis.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17583/generos.2020.4628

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